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A.I. Robot Learning to Draw Portraits

Artificial intelligence and robotics are turning many industries upside down, including fine arts.

An AI machine has already painted a canvas borrowing from historical artwork, which sold in October 2018 for $432,500.

A new robot called Ai-Da—named for British mathematician and inventor of computer algorithms Ada Lovelace—will do something much harder. The device will be able to draw, according to Reuters.

Ai-Da’s first exhibit is scheduled for May at the University of Oxford and will go on display in November at a gallery.

Cornwall-based Engineered Arts is building the device with the help of British gallery owner Aidan Meller.

“She’s going to actually be drawing and we’re hoping to then build technology for her to paint,” Meller told Reuters.

“There’s AI running in the computer vision that allows the robot to track faces to recognize facial features and to mimic your expression,” Marcus Hold, a design and production engineer at Engineered Arts

The center of the unit is a human-shaped head. Two cameras are installed in the eyes, Ai-Da will be able to translate what it sees and reproduce features on paper. Goldsmiths, the AI division at the University of London, is designing the robot’s arm that will draw.

The head will be placed atop a humanoid body that Engineered Arts calls a RoboThespian. The unit is designed for human interaction, with a range of movements and simulated emotions. Such a RoboThespian has already been tested on stage in a play with four human actors.